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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  August 3, 2009 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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lahood is coming here directly today to defend the program. plus, it's excitement eve in the keystone state. democracy it appears is heading back to where it all began. by that i mean the democratic voters of philadelphia and pennsylvania as a whole will have a choice in next year's senate primary because u.s. congressman joe sestak is bravely going to come out of the gate and make a very big statement tomorrow morning, a very big statement. that arlen specter is going to have a rival for the nomination of the party he just joined. that's in t"the politics fix" tonight. guess how to get into harvard? well, you could have your father arrest one of its professors. i'm serious. that's in the "hardball sideshow." but first, u.s. congressman lloyd doggett of texas was shouted down at his own town hall meeting in austin, texas. austin is what i'm told apparently the most sophisticated political town in texas, sir. why the zaniness over the weekend at your town hall meeting? let's look at the pictures while
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you speak of what was going on there. >> what better slogan for the party of no, no way, never, than just say no? one of the reasons is many of these people were summoned in by the local republican and libertarian parties. they didn't even live in the neighborhood. they were there not just to be heard, but to ensure other people weren't heard on this. real desperation tactic. >> what are they up to? why do they want to shut down any talk of reform in health care? >> i think these folks are really desperate to stop health reform. they see that for the first time in 60 years we really have with president obama and a democratic congress a chance to enact meaningful reform and deal with these policies of health insurance giants that hurt small business, that deny choice to so many people, and deny them coverage at a time they need it the most. so just say no, a mob scene is just one way of trying to intimidate members into weakening their position. in my case is really just
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reaffirmed my resolve to go back and get a strong public plan, force more competition, provide more choice to people, get the reform i know my constituents want. >> well, let's go through some of their attacks. one of them lally is this cultural front where they say the new reform bill would be a requirement that health practitioners come to older people and tell them, well, you better make plans now for living wills, et cetera, you're going to die some day and you're going to be in bad health so you better make some decisions now. is that the case? is that in the bill? >> that was one of the cries of this republican mob saturday that also was nice enough to have a beautiful marble picture -- beautiful picture of a marble tombstone with my name on it. but they did express this concern about euthanasia. that's a real slur about this bill. i worked with my colleagues on that section of the bill. all that it does is to provide that a physician under medicare can be paid for talking with a senior who wants to talk with
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the physician. if they want to express the desire to be tied to a machine indefinitely, or as in my case they want to sign a living will to provide some instructions instead of letting someone else decide for them, they have that right. this has nothing to do with euthanasia, which is outlawed in this country, and we do not deal with euthanasia whatsoever in this bill. >> well, mr. doggett, as one of the people writing the bill, just to clear it up as you just did, make it clear, no one will be approached to have to make end of life decisions. that would be entirely up to the patient, the citizen, to bring up the topic, right? >> it's up to the patient to take it up with their doctor if they so choose to, and euthanasia is not one of the options. >> okay. let me ask you about your state. you have a half a dozen members of congress all republicans out there talking up this birther thing. there is absolutely no evidence the president was born anywhere but the united states. we've got a birth certificate, we've got an announcement of his birth at the time, all kinds of
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contemporary information, including the testimony of his mother, his grandparents, everybody who knew him, the governor of the state who is a republican, all the department heads, all the information anybody could want that he was born in america. they knew it at the time, we know it now. what is it in the water down in texas that leads your republican colleagues to join the birther movement? >> well, chris, i'm not sure it's the water. i think it's just a certain fanaticism that they cannot accept the fact that barack obama is our president, that he's working for change. it's the same fanaticism i saw on saturday of people talking about a government takeover in health care when all the independent studies have shown that 96% of the people that would turn to an insurance exchange would go into a private plan with new standards and 4% would choose something like medicare. >> well, and you also have a governor that was talking up secession lately. what's that about? i thought you joined the union back in the 19th century and were quite happy here. >> yeah, chris, that's like this crowd on saturday, too.
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holding up the tenth amendment and saying that the tenth amendment prevents our getting health care bill through, and when i asked them about that, because all your video shows is the end of the meeting, not the hour that i spent with them responding to their taunts and questions, they admitted that they're not only against health care reform, but they'd like to see the repeal of medicare and social security. this is about whether our country goes backwards or provides the coverage people so much want. >> go forward with austin, sir. thank you. u.s. congressman lloyd doggett of texas. thank you. let's watch this video from yesterday in philadelphia just to show you this thing is going all around the count where another rowdy crowd shouted down u.s. senator arlen specter and also health secretary kathleen sebelius. they got shouted down, too. >> i have never seen members of congress work harder. it is unacceptable to me for somebody that -- hours and hours and hours and hours.
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if people say they haven't read the legislation, then tell them to go back and read it. >> my practice, when you have a bill and we have a lot of them that are a thousand pages, is to take my top staff, and we divide up the bill. we have to make judgments very fast. >> who is behind this? joining us right now is u.s. republican senator bob corker of tennessee. senator, who is behind these raging crowds of anti-health reform folks? >> i have no idea, chris. i'm going to have a town hall meetings throughout the state of tennessee this next month, and i'm sure we'll have large crowds, and my guess is there may be some folks on the other side of the issue there, but i have no idea. >> what do you make of this debate over end of life, this argument from some on the right
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that the obama health care plan is going to confront old people with decisions about, well, you're costing the government a lot of money and your relatives a lot of money. maybe we should pull the plug. this is out there. is it fair, that shot at this bill? >> well, you know, first of all, i'm focused on the senate bill and right now the finance committee is really the place where the action is in the senate, okay? but i think certainly calling for medpac, a body that's outside the congress, to be able to make decisions probably does give concern to people about rationing. i think most of us know, you know this, i think most of us that have been involved in this issue, most of the dollars that we spend in our lifetime on health care is at the end, and so i think when people start hearing about folks that are not elected being able to make decisions about those kinds of things, it probably gives them concerns, and certainly hearing that, and you're hearing that, i'm certainly hearing that myself, anything that gets done, and by the way, i want to see us
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have appropriate health care reform. i really do, and i think there's so much that we could agree upon and actually do this in a way that actually doesn't create all of this concern in some cases rightful concern by citizens, and i hope when we get back in september after people on both sides of the aisle have attended many, many town halls, we'll be able to do that. >> you know, when one party is out of power and you're in the minority, as your party is now, sir, there's often the call, well, we have an alternative to what the majority party wants. i always like to think, and this goes for both parties, why didn't you push your alternatives when you were in power? if you had a big health care reform plan, why didn't you push it when you had george bush and the house and the senate. you had the whole she bang. why didn't you do it then? >> i have been here 2 1/2 years and actually did write a bill that is very much centered on the kind of things i spout today, and that is, look, i think we should limit the exclusion, the employer exclusion so cadillac health care plans are taxed.
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i think you read the other day where i'm not picking on them, but it's the case goldman sachs, their executives get $41,000 a year plan. tax those above $17,000, and use those monies, use the money generated to actually allow people that cannot afford health care today to be able to buy it. that's something that i think, chris, we could get a large bipartisan support for. it would actually go way down the road to solving this problem. >> i think you're right. isn't that what people like ron widen want to do and his republican colleague? >> it is. and, chris, i met with the president two weeks ago, and i appreciate it. i have been to meetings that you can't imagine the number of meetings i have been to on health care. i do not understand why the president will not sit down with leadership and focus on this very sensible solution. the other piece, chris, is taking $400 billion out of
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medicare, which is we all know insolvent. the trustees have told us it's going to be insolvent in 2017. taking money away from medicare, not doing the doc fix. you see us each year looking for ways to pay providers so they won't be cut by 21%, not even dealing with that, but using this money to leverage a whole new program is not even sensible. there are extremes being discussed on both sides. i think we could come together and do something in september that makes a lot of sense and does not create budget deficits. i really do. >> are you one of those that wants to see a health care bill passed this year? >> i do. i campaigned on it. i was the commissioner of finance in a state that had lots of people without health care, and i have wanted to see that happen. there's a way to do it that's market based. this government plan and the issue of using medicare dollars to me are two nonstarters. the fact is if you look at
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medicare part "d," there are probably 40 pharmaceutical companies or plans vying for seniors help in health care. i don't know why we don't use those kinds of models to solve this plan, and that's what widen and bennett does. i have some problems with that bill, but if it can be corrected it's the kind of think i think a lot of us could get behind. >> senator, you said you're going to have a town meeting. if the issue of this birthing thing comes up, what will you say if somebody stands up like they did to mike castle, a moderate republican in delaware, he got hit with it. what would you do if you got hit with somebody saying i don't believe the president was born in this country? >> first of all, i'm going to have lots of town hall meetings and from what i have seen over the last week and in times past, chris, it appears to me that our president is a citizen. sometimes citizens groups enlighten us and certainly people have the freedom in this country to try to do that, but from my standpoint it's a settled issue. >> so do you think it's legitimate to raise questions
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about whether he's a native-born american or not? is that a legitimate point? >> look, you know, in this country that is what's great about it, people have the ability to raise anything they wish. they have the ability to go to court and try to pursue it. i think that's great. from my standpoint, again, it's settled. it looks to me like he's a citizen. there's newspaper documents or writings about congratulating him when he was birthed, but the fact is sometimes people educate us, and certainly if that's what people wish to do, let them do it. i'm sure that i will see them. we've received lots of letters in our office from birthers. they're heartfelt. i happen to feel differently about the issue, but i'm glad we live in a country where people can raise issues that concern them like that. >> okay. thank you very much, senator bob corker of tennessee. >> yes, sir. up next, the loudest voices on the republican period of time all seem to be coming from the extreme far right. can the republicans rebound with the right wingers leading the
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way? or is this a recipe for victory? you have to wonder if you heat up the base, does that help you win the election? you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. ( dog barking ) ( sheets buffeting ) ( man ) whoa ! ♪
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coming up, the wildly popular cash for clunkers program is already out of money, and the debate over it is going on. tropical storm secretary ray lahood will come here to join us and defend the program. i think it's great. "hardball" returns after this. y. thanks. so is our bike insurance. all the coverage you need at a great price. hold on, cowboy. cool. i'm not done -- for less than a dollar a month, you also get 24/7 roadside assistance. ght on. yeah, vroom-vroom! sounds like you ran a 500. more like a 900 v-twin. excuse me. well, you're excused. the right insurance for your ride. w, that's progressive. call or click today.
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welcome back to "hardball." the loudest voice of the republican party right now seem to be coming from the extreme right, from the birthers who insist president obama was not born in the u.s. to accusations that the democrats health care plan will kill the elderly or at least urge them to kill themselves, and there's all kinds of talk from the talk show world about the president himself being a racist. but can the far right actually help the republicans with a comeback next year? can they give them the juice to win those off jeer elections
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elections. joe and pat buchanan is a msnbc political analyst who is the leading voice in the conservative movement. pat, does it help or hurt to have the birthers out there if you're trying to win lebss next year on the "r" side? >> i don't think it's going to be an issue next year. >> i mean the crazies out there. the far right. >> you're doing the birthers thing. you've given them' nor muss attention. year loving, it you fellows are loving it. cable news, the ratings are going up. >> where do you stand? >> i think barack obama, as i said, the honolulu advertisers closes the case for me -- >> but what's in the juice out there. why would somebody spent two seconds -- would would any normal person in a free country push the idea that their president is foreign born and therefore ought to be picked up because he never went through a naturalization process. ? it's the same reason people thought lyndon john son was behind -- >> they weren't calling in and
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all that stuff. >> same people did support george bush. he didn't act on new orleans because it was african-american folks being hurt. people are out there all the time, chris. you ought to let them go and look what the republicans are doing, what you're doing, they're killing that health care bill -- >> the reason, pat, that we're doing it is we have a number that just came in last week that 30% of the republican party nationally doesn't know this guy was born in this country. >> probably going up -- >> no, no, another 20-some percent believe he was definitely born southern. a majority of southerners. this isn't something we cooked up. this is out there. >> so what? >> it's a crazy world, isn't it. it's something worth talking about. >> i haven't been -- i don't agree with them -- >> do you think it's normal behavior to talk about -- how many countries in the world have conversations about whether the guy who is leading their country is from some other country? >> why are you in the conversation then? >> because it's huge.
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it's out there -- >> it's not huge. you made it huge. >> joe, i am personally responsible? i have a lot of power. joe, your thoughts on this. did we create this here on this show? we created the -- we put the -- what's that stuff they put in the water? >> whatever they have been drinking. no, i don't think you're responsible, chris. >> fluoride. go ahead. >> the problem the republicans have is the leadership of their party is not in congress, although they're even 11 members of congress who support or give some kind of support to this insane theory. it's that the leadership of their party is in talk radio. it's on the wilder reaches of the blogosphere. those are the people who have put this forward and the people who believe this in the republican base don't really care what the politicians in their party are saying about it. they gef a mealy mouthed answer like bob corker's answer, well, i think, so but i'm sure glad to hear from the people who don't. you know, they are listening to the people with conviction who
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are on talk radio who are saying, hey, barack obama is from another country and you know why they're saying this, chris. this isn't a way of trying to create fear of the other, fear of a black president. it's nothing new. it's an old story. it was, i think, unfortunately, inevitable when we finally elected a black president, but that's what -- where the problem lies. it lies in the weakness of the republican leadership as it is and in the strength of the crazy fringe that's in their media. >> let me disagree -- >> what about his point that people like dobbs and beck and rush have been pushing this story. >> maybe they believe it, but i'll say this, listen, chris, the republican party is not in bad shape. the republican party is getting in better shape -- >> because of this? >> it's not this. they're taking down health care. they got this global warming is now a hoax. the stimulus -- >> you think global warm something a hoax? >> i do think it's a hoax. >> it's a hoax. >> i think it goes up and down. the idea this is some grave horrible -- >> no co2 emissions, greenhouse gases, none of it exists?
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>> of course it exists. the idea we're all going to die of it, it's utter nonsense. >> and the motivation is what? >> the motivation is power. it always is in government -- >> so people like al gore have cooked this up to get what? >> i think he believes it, chris, like the birthers believe it. he's just like they are. it's a religious belief to them. the republicans are doing fine. obama is coming down in the polls. republican lead on the deficit, on taxes, on the budget. >> so science and anti-science are equal. >> look, i agree with the co2 and partial effect, but it's been going down for ten years. it was going up. when i was in iowa they said the hills are here because the ice cap stopped here for heaven's sake. the idea this is a dangerous thing is preposterous. >> the democrats will be very lucky if the republicans listen to people like pat who spread ideas that are very outmoded, they were outmoded when he started to spread them 40 years ago, particularly about race and entitlement of white people and all of the rest of that. this is a party that is in decline partly because the leadership of it is nuts on talk
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radio and partly because they have no answers to the problems that really exist whether it's climate change, whether it's a health care system that doesn't work for most of the americans anymore, or whether it's -- >> george voinovich, who is still a senator, he's a lame duck from ohio, he's been governor, he said we have too many jim demints and tom coburns in the party, the southerners. people hear them and say these people they're southerners. the party's being take enover by southerners and the south is where the president is not one of us is rooted. all the opinion polling shows that's where the heart of it is. why? >> that's a whine. >> why is it true? >> george voinovich is from ohio. why isn't he out there leading? why aren't the republicans from the northeast or the west leading? >> because they're disappearing. >> they've lost elections. >> they get blown off. >> they're losing. >> santorum tried to lead, he's gone. new england is gone. not a single congressman in new england. >> they're all forced to conform to the crazy right. >> they get beat singing the
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prizes of your loyal. they tried to be loyal, they all got blown away. >> di mat that was one. he's as sufficient as you are. he got blown away. >> demographically the party is in trouble but i'll tell you this -- >> you're telling me the north is dead in the republican party because they haven't fought hard enough. >> my concern is the presidency and the congress in 2010. i'm telling you we will pick up, i believe, 30 seats in the house -- >> a moderate republican period of time -- >> no, and i'm -- >> charlie crist, tom -- they're going to win. >> we will not nominate another m moderate, they lose every time for the presidency. >> could sarah palin beat the president? >> no as of now she cannot beat the president. i think romney now can -- every time he flops he comes in our direction, chris. >> you are a moving target, pat buchanan. pat has four hats, i never know which one he's hearing. now you're being a political
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analyst or a partisan. >> i'm an analyst. >> i know you are but you keep moving. i never know when you're going to be an analyst and when you're going to be a -- >> look, as an analyst i'm telling you that even though you're laughing at the party and mocking it -- >> i'm having fun because of what it chooses to talk about. >> chris, what i'm telling you also, look at this, too, there is energy and fire. six republicans voted against sotomayor. they have never stood up on a justice -- a supreme court justice before. >> let me tell you the problem with your party. i can have a presidential debate at the reagan library and we can ask who believes in evolution here? and you can get a show of hands of people that don't. even though they were taught it in biology in high school, and you were taught it in high school, too. you were taught biology. you weren't taught creationism -- >> i didn't take biology, they made me take greek. biology, look i have written columns on darwin, book reviews on darwin. part of darwin, yeah, but there are other people that reject darwin right now.
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chris, in terms of do i believe a big bang created the earth or man came out of some tadpoles? no, i don't believe it and i don't think you do either. do you? >> did you climb trees as a kid? check it out. we'll be right back. he's got some monkey in him. pat buchanan it's always fun to get to the bottom of your train and it's very deep. joe conason, you were great. henry louis gates told the officer he'd help get his kids into harvard if he doesn't arrest him again. that's next on the "sideshow." talking about going to the heart of the matter. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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♪ free credit report dot com! ♪ that's where i shoulda gone! coulda got my knowledge on! ♪ ♪ vo: free credit score and report with enrollment in triple advantage. back to "hardball" and time for the "sideshow." well, the gates of heaven, or at least harvard, our ivy league
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professor henry louis gates kicked back at a book festival on martha's vineyard that weekend offering the scoop of last week's white house beer summit with the man who arrested him, sergeant james crowley. heres he is, professor gates. >> i asked him if he would have lunch with me one-on-one, i asked him if we could go to a red sox game together, go to a celtics game together. maybe have dinner with our families, you know. why not? i offered to get his kids into harvard smg. if he doesn't arrest me ever again. >> actually, i think harvard would do well to admit more kids of policemen. talk about encouraging diversity up there. time for tonight's big wisdom. the president's party generally does lose seats in congress during the midterms. while that may well happy again this time, a new poll from gallup just out has some good news for democrats that may
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cushion the blow. when taking a look at party identification, how many states are considered right now to be solidly democrat? 30 states out of the 50. republicans meanwhile just have four states that are considered solidly republican. democrats have a significant i.d. edge, 30 states to 4 going into the next big election. up next, why is cash for clunkers out of money? is it because it's extremely popular? is it because the government mismanaged it? i'm with the first theory. i think this is one of the smart moves. transportation secretary ray lahood joins us next to defend the program that may not need defending. a lot of people want to buy a new car because you save $4,500 per car. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. (announcer) your doctor knows tylenol doesn't interfere with certain high blood pressurs
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i'm julia boorstin with your
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cnbc market wrap. a solid rally on wall street today with the s&p and nasdaq topping some exciting round number milestones. the dow is up almost 115 points. the s&p 500 up 15 to put it above 1000 for the first time this year. the nasdaq added 30. a pair of encouraging reports on the manufacturing sector helping move stocks higher today. manufacturing activity rose more than four points in july beating expectations. and the new orders index jumped to 55 meaning expansion should be on the horizon. ford shares are up more than 4% today. the automaker said it's ready to post its first positive sales report in two years thanks in part to the government's cash for clunkers program. and steelmakers like alcoa and alas.k. steel ended higher ramp up production to meet demands generating from that program. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball."
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welcome back to "hardball." the popular cash for clunkers rebate program already blew through $1 billion last week and will run out of gas by the end of this week if the senate doesn't approve an additional $2 billion quick to keep it going, but the program is already getting some stiff resistance from some senators. check out what senator jim demint of south carolina had to say. >> the federal government went bankrupt in one week in the used car business and now they want to run our health care system. >> well, that's what he thinks. let's go ray lahood, the secretary of transportation, a very popular fellow. mr. lahood, okay, i got an old car i want to get rid of. should i still go to my dealer to get a trade-in so i get my $4,500? >> absolutely. go tonight. they're ready for you because there's still a lot of cars to be sold, and the money is still available. we are working with the senate
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this week so they'll pass the $2 billion to continue the program, but we're encouraging people to go buy cars, chris. >> pat buchanan and i were agreeing on something a few minutes ago off camera. we decided there was something like -- there's usually 17 million cars sold in this country. this year the prediction was only 10. that means 7 million people normally would want to buy a car but weren't making plans to to it. with your program it would cost about $28 billion to get those -- or more, about $30 billion to move those 7 million cars. are you that ambitious? can we move 7 million cars through this program? >> well, look, chris, this is a wildly popular program. it's a win/win for the american worker who makes the cars, for the car salesman, for the mechanics, for the dealerships. if you walked into a dealership maybe a week or so ago or two weeks ago, it was like walking into a funeral home. today -- >> i know. >> -- it's like walking into a bus station or amtrak station.
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>> i'm with you. i wonder what's going to happen a week from now when the next $2 billion runs out and the senate and house are on vacation. we'll have hell to pay in this country with all the dealers saying get congress back from vacation. i need to sell some more cars. >> chris, the $2 billion that the senate will pass this week will take us through the -- until after labor day. it will take us through august and we'll be able to meet all the demands that are out there. >> want to bet? i'm telling you, you already went through a billion in one week. why is it going to take you four weeks to go through two? it doesn't make math mattic sense. >> because over time this will diminish a little bit, chris, and i think the enthusiasm for this was a pent-up demand. some of it will diminish a little bit. our belief is that this $2 billion will continue to be the lifeline that will take us through the month of august. we believe that. >> let me do my bit, mr. secretary. now hear this, if you have a car you don't like, you're tired of
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it, starts to smell, too many dents, it embarrasses, you you can get a new car, just have a 10 mpg differential a car with decent mileage and you can get a new car with a 25% discount basically, right? it's an amazing deal. >> absolutely. >> let me ask you -- >> it's a phenomenal deal and -- >> go ahead. >> well, i was just going to say chrysler is putting another $4,500 on top of it. you end up getting $9,000 off a van or another type of automobile. it's a win/win. >> you know, pat buchanan had this idea weeks ago on this show, i don't know if it got on the air but we always sit between the commercials and try to figure out what we're doing in this country. he thought it would be a good idea generally. it seems like ford is already making a profit this second quarter. do you think this could help bring back the american auto industry and maybe save gm, maybe save chrysler? >> i don't think there's any question about it. this is the lifeline that will
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bring back the automobile industry in america, which has been hurting very badly, and americans are buying these automobiles because they've been, you know, racking up 100,000 miles on cars and now they have a chance to get into a new car, which americans love to do. they love to buy cars. this is their chance to do it. >> if i gave you $50,000 right now mr. secretary, what car would you buy? what's the best -- how about if i give you $30,000? what's the best car to get out there? >> i have my eye on an explorer, four-wheel drive, but i have a '97 buick regal that doesn't qualify for the program. i may still buy the explorer. i have been talking to a dealer back in peoria about this, but i would buy a ford explorer. >> i think it's the greatest program -- >> and by the -- >> it's a chance for the guy working his butt off on some car line to produce something that's going to sell, it will empty the car lots. was it your idea? this idea to get cash for
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clunkers? >> i wish it was. it was somebody in congress. actually, it was a couple people in congress, and it's a great idea. by the way, i own a ford escape hybrid in peoria and it's one of the best cars that i have ever owned. >> okay. thank you very much. ray lahood, a very popular member of the american cabinet. a republican serving in a bipartisan fashion, as you can see. up next, it's official arlen specter has a primary challenger. tomorrow morning u.s. congressman joe sestak oosh he's been to 67 counties already. i think it's fair to say he intends to announce tomorrow morning. he's going to run against specter and bring democracy back to where it began in philly. it's going to be a real race in "the politics fix." this is "hardball" only on msnbc.
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op what's going on out in the country. it's getting wilder.
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you can't hold a town meeting. the ones who aren't going on vacation are going to find a lot of anger out there on health care. we've been watching the pictures. they're continuing to burn out there. "hardball" comes back to talk about it in "the politics fix." with rheumatoid arthritis, it seems like my life is split in two. there's the life i live. and the life i want to live. fortunately, there's enbrel. enbrel can help relieve pain, stiffness, fatigue, and stop joint damage. because enbrel suppresses your immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal, events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma and nervous system... and blood disorders have occurred. before starting enbrel, your doctor should test you for tuberculosis. also ask your doctor if you live in an area... with a greater risk for certain fungal infections.
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we're back. time for "the politics fix" with syndicated radio host and msnbc contributor michael smerconish and politico's jonathan morton. we have a lot up your tree tonight on a number of fronts. what do you make of this firestorm that's going on across the country? we have pictures from texas, from long island, from philly. every time a member of congress or a senator calls a town meeting now, the people show up
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and it's like, i don't know, it's like iran. it's like the streets of tehran. what do you make of this? >> people are hot. i sense it in the phone calls that i get every day. i think they're very nervous about what's going to come out of this debate concerning national health care, and, chris, if i have heard once in the last couple of days, i have heard it 50 times, if they can't get cash for clunkers straight, what in the world are they going to do with my national health insurance? >> you mean they won't figure out the numbers right. >> yeah, they won't figure out the numbers right and it smacks of bureaucratic ineptitude that the federal government has blown through this money so quickly on a plan that seems seemingly straightforward. i also think what's going on is that many people don't understand the elements of this debate, so what do they know? they know they have health insurance. they know there's this enormous price tag that's being assigned to insuring the 45 or so million who don't have it, and so they -- frankly what they say is
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why can't we just write them a check and pay for it. it sounds like it would be less expensive. >> that's the question, jonathan, for years every since harry truman the democrats have said let's have health insurance. every poll that's been taken saying we ought to insure the people who are uninsured in this country. the number kems growing. in principle every wants to do it. the majority does. what happened? >> it's hard to understand given that. you have 60 democrats in the senate -- and they all ran on promising health care. >> the devil is in the detail. you have a disparate party in the house. some of these blue dogs are just not going to go along with the sort of conventional liberal line of the party. that's causing problems. the democrats strategy right now is to try to blame the health insurance companies, try to blame the republicans. i think the hard reality is right now this is a democratic problem, and they got to figure this out on their own. let be speak real fast to the passion that we're seeing at some of these town hall rallies. it seems to me for the first
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time since maybe even four years that on the right -- we're finally see on the right some real fire. >> i think folks now are finally fired up. >> the dog that hasn't barked here is where the hell are the people who want health care? the poor people out there. the people who work hard but don't have health care. the union people. where are they? i haven't seen one placard let alone one protest demonstration for hale caealth care. >> and i don't hear from them either as radio callers. you hear from the people who retrospect now, in hindsight they say maybe my health insurance isn't so bad. i will take what i've already got if i can maintain the status quo because i'm so concerned about the cost of whatever this change is going to bring. >> but michael moore, i don't care what you think of michael moore, his movie "sicko" was really smart because it didn't focus on the uninsured. it focused on the middle class
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person on the middle class who thought they were insured. there are geniuses at headquarters who kept them from getting their coverage. >> i think the vast majority haven't been in that position yet. >> it takes somebody who is very passionate about issues in the middle of summer, show up in a town hall meeting with a politician. most normal folks don't do those kinds of things and those events draw people who are passionate on one side or the other. >> it sounds like you're getting
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ill and all of a sudden they show up and say, let's talk about how you are going to save the government money and you have to sift through the urban lure of the health care debate. to what extent is there going to be some level of funding before for abortion? i hear a lot about abortion. i hear a lot more as well. >> the abortion thing as well, they are not willing to foreclose it. people who oppose abortion don't want to have to pay for it directly or indirectly. >> there are competing interest groups. you're absolutely right. >> the government says you can't spend money on abortion.
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>> the whole issue about however credible it may or may not be, it divorces they are causing problems right now. the average democrat hears that and flinches whether or not they are true or not. we'll be right back with pennsylvania politics, which is fascinating. democracy may be returning to pennsylvania if you believe democracy means you get a choice. because it looks like joe sestak is about to challenge arlen specter, the new guy on the other side of the democratic i'd of the aisle. outing ) this is crazy. you. let's run a free upgrade check. see if you're due for a new smartphone. don't i need to go to my carrier's store for that? no, you don't have to. we sell phones and plans on all the major networks. ok. well, is time travel possible? yes, i am from the future. announcer: phones, plans, and advice from thousands ofeople eager to help.
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a higher degree. a higher purpose. let's talk about democracy. the u.s. senator, arlen specter, is going to talk with joe sestak tomorrow morning. that's the big story in philly tomorrow, i'm sure. >> pat toomey is now neck-and-neck against arlen spector in a general election. so i don't know what says stack is seeing but at a time when there's a lot of concern about the spending, that's really what i think is driving this.
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there are no reps left in the state. >> but you never know what party is going to be strong. you never know. >> it helps that joe sestak is going to be in this race. if specter starts drifting back to his gop roots, for example, and the organizing vote, health care, what have you, energy, having this threat from the left keeps him loyal to his new party. >> why do you think the president and governor and everybody is inspecting specter? >> well, i think those commitments were offered to him at a time when they didn't think there would be a serious
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opponent for senator specter and i don't think says stack in tito be a -- they picked up a 60th vote. that was their calculus. >> i grew up in pennsylvania and i have to tell you that democracy is a good thing and i think it's good to always have a choice and if you don't have a choice, it's really not democracy and i have to hand is to sestak who may be giving up a career in congress. he was a retired admiral and
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would go his own way. i was thinking of he is showing off some of the independent spirit, not helping the establishment of a party himself. >> don't voters generally like a choice, michael? >> oh, i think they do like a choice and i think we're going to be the epicenter next year. hey, chris, i wonder if there are others out there on the side line saying, man, this looks like a lot of fun. >> yeah, i better this. >> michael, thank you. i want to ask you -- let me ask you about the southern thing. >> a friend of arlen specter, when you're free for democracy, join us tomorrow.
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right now it's time for "the ed show" with ed schultz. . >> i'm ed schultz. this is "the ed show." live from 30 rock in new york, it's "the ed show" on msnbc. i'm lawrence o'donnell sitting in for ed schultz who, of course, has gone fishing. jonathon alter of all people is asking what is wrong with the for-profit health care system. he joins me in just a moment.
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and senator john widen in 1994, i'll ask him what the democrats need to do to win this time. sf now in the health care fight there is a line between change and status quo. but with the health insurance industry playing the villain. >> it's a shock and awe by the health insurance industry to develop a status quo, where they don't have to be responsible for anti-trust states. la make no mistake, we intend to set the record straight. >> nancy pelosi and house leadership v


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